Saturday, April 9, 2011

Game 8: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tom Gorzelanny makes his season debut today at Citi Field.
NEW YORK -- We figured the Nationals would have a tweaked lineup today since they're facing a left-handed starter for the first time this season. This, though, is a bit different than I expected.

Adam LaRoche has been given the day off, probably a product more of his 5-for-28 start to the season than his career .254 average against lefties. So Michael Morse gets moved in from left field to first base. Jerry Hairston starts, as expected, but he's in left field. Which means Rick Ankiel (career .234 average vs. lefties) stays in center field.

Tom Gorzelanny, makes his first start of the season and his first with the Nationals. He hasn't pitched in 15 days, throwing only a simulated game in D.C. earlier this week to stay sharp. We'll see how that translates once he faves live competition for the first time.

Updates to come...

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WHFS (1580 AM)
Weather: Mostly clear, 52 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
C Wilson Ramos
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Jerry Hairston
P Tom Gorzelanny

METS (3-4)
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Scott Hairston
1B Ike Davis
2B Chin-lung Hu
C Mike Nickeas
P Chris Capuano
5:49 p.m. -- Turns out Adam LaRoche is out of the lineup because of a recurrence of shoulder pain that cropped up earlier this week when he made a hard throw to second base. Jim Riggleman gave every indication LaRoche will be back in the lineup tomorrow, and the first baseman continues to believe he can make it through the season without a stint on the DL. Full story on

6:01 p.m. -- One other pregame note: Matt Stairs and Laynce Nix will have new uniform numbers when the Nationals return home Tuesday. Stairs, who has been wearing No. 24, will switch to the No. 12 he's worn most of his career. That number had been worn all spring by Alberto Gonzalez, who was traded to San Diego at the end of camp. Nix, who has been wearing No. 20, will switch to the No. 19 that had been worn by Brian Bixler this spring.

7:11 p.m. -- We're underway, and for the first time in Nationals history, they're wearing red jerseys on the road. What does everyone think?

7:16 p.m. -- Quick top of the first for Chris Capuano. Retired the side, struck out Jayson Werth on a high fastball, got both Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman to ground out.

7:32 p.m. -- Not the way Gorzelanny wanted to start his Nats career. He walked Jose Reyes to begin the bottom of the first, got Angel Pagan to pop out and David Wright to strike out on a 1-2 changeup but then served up a homer to Carlos Beltran on a 3-2 changeup. He got out of the inning, but he's already thrown 28 pitches. Mets lead 2-0.

7:43 p.m. -- Wow, I'm not sure what was more impressive just now: Danny Espinosa launching a 3-run homer to deep left-center over the 15-foot wall, or the Mets fan beyond the fence who caught it with his bare hand. Both efforts were mighty impressive. Nats take a 3-2 lead.

7:52 p.m. -- Much better second inning from Gorzelanny. He struck out both Ike Davis and Chin-lung Hu, then got Mike Nickeas to popup to third. Needed only 15 pitches to get through the 1-2-3 frame.

8:07 p.m. -- Big chance for the Nats to add to the lead in the top of the third after Werth drew a walk and took third on Zimmerman's single to center (with Zim taking second on the throw and appearing to injure his hand sliding in headfirst). Morse then took a fastball off his left knee, writhing in pain for a few moments, loading the bases with one out. But Ramos took a 1-2 fastball at the knees for strike three (and appeared to give plate umpire Dan Bellino a nasty look after) and Ankiel popped out to short. Rally squandered. Nats still lead 3-2.

8:14 p.m. -- Gorzelanny has settled in nicely since that shaky first. Since that Beltran homer, he's retired seven straight, three via strikeout. Been much more efficient these last two innings, a nice sign.

8:36 p.m. -- Boy, if he didn't have to face Beltran, Gorzelanny would be having one heck of a night. Unfortunately, Beltran took him deep again in the fourth, sending a solo homer to left. Otherwise, Gorzelanny has been near-unhittable, striking out seven in four innings. He's actually tied for the staff lead in strikeouts already (with John Lannan and Tyler Clippard). Tie game, 3-3, as we go to the fifth.

8:38 p.m. -- And the Nats take the lead right back. Ian Desmond goes deep off Capuano, just inside the left-field foul pole for his first homer of the season. Nats up 4-3.

8:45 p.m. -- Hmm, questionable decision there by Bo Porter on Wilson Ramos' double to right-center. Porter held up Zimmerman at third, not wanting to take a chance. Whether he would have scored is debatable; a good throw would have had him. But with two outs and Ankiel up next, you wonder if that might have been the time to make the defense make a play. Ankiel, of course, grounded out on the first pitch he saw, ending the top of the fifth. Nats still lead 4-3.

8:58 p.m. -- If you were wondering how deep Gorzelanny could pitch tonight after the 15-day layoff, he's coming back out for the sixth inning. Pitch count is only 82, so you'd think he should be good for one more inning. He's pitched quite well, all things considered.

9:18 p.m. -- Well, that just got ugly. Where to begin? How about with Jerry Hairston, who completely dropped Beltran's fly ball to deep left. Hairston had to move to get to the ball, but he was there in plenty of time, just flat-out dropped it for a huge error. That put runners on second and third with nobody out. Gorzelanny tried to escape the jam and struck out Scott Hairston (Jerry's brother) but served up a two-run triple to Ike Davis that gave the Mets the lead. Enter Brian Broderick, surprisingly used in a close game. The thinking, I assume, is that Broderick is a sinker-baller and could induce a groundball with a man on third and the infield in. And Broderick did just that. Unfortunately, Daniel Murphy slipped that grounder through the left side hole to score another run. It's now 6-4 Mets as we go to the seventh.

9:35 p.m. -- Not a bad outing for Broderick, all things considered. He gave up two singles, but both were grounders that found holes. Otherwise pitched OK, certainly better than his last outing. Nats are down to their last six outs. It'll be Morse, Ramos and Ankiel to face Bobby Parnell in the eighth.

9:58 p.m. -- Is it a good thing when you go 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in one inning? Not usually. Morse and Ramos each reached against Parnell to start the eighth, but Ankiel and Espinosa each struck out, and then Francisco Rodriguez entered to face Matt Stairs and got the pinch-hitter extraordinaire to ground out to second. So the Nats still trail 6-4, and they're down to their final three outs.

10:08 p.m. -- Looks like I spoke too soon on Broderick, as well. He stayed in to start the eighth but didn't get out of the inning with even one out. Plunked two batters and allowed a single. So the Rule 5 pick has now faced 16 batters in his big-league career and allowed 10 of them to reach safely. Bases loaded, nobody out and Doug Slaten entering to try to clean up the mess.

10:20 p.m. -- Slaten almost pulled it off, thanks to an interference call on Ike Davis (who ran into Ian Desmond on a grounder to short). Slaten then got to face Francisco Rodriguez for his first career at-bat, with the bases loaded nonetheless. K-Rod put some mighty swings on the ball but never made contact. Needing one more out to escape the jam, Slaten served up a two-run double to Jose Reyes. So this one has been blown wide-open. The Mets now lead 8-4 and the Nats are down to their final three outs.

10:29 p.m. -- And this one is over. Nats lose 8-4. Gorzelanny takes a hard-luck loss. Hairston is the goat of the night. Nats went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position tonight, making them 11-for-68 for the season.


Sam said...

I don't quite get Hairston playing over LaRoche against lefties, unless it's just a scheduled day off for LaRoche. Hairston hasn't been any better in his career against lefties than LaRoche.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

O notice that the Flagship station is missing again. Yesterday the Nats were done before the Wizard's started. I never did hear why they couldn't have both games on. Is this the last time the Wizards interfere with the Nats (I am assuming the Wiz are playing tonight, I don't care about the NBA so I pay little attention).

What is the word that have heard Mark?

Unknown said...

@Manassas Nats

WJFK will not play any games that interfere with their terrible weekday programming. So any games that play during the week will not be broadcast on WJFK.

fpcsteve said...

I don't get Morse playing at this point. Batting cleanup is even more puzzling.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Morse got a day off just two games ago because he was scuffling... so now he hits cleanup and moves to first base?

Nats Lifer said...

I like the move. Sometimes players need a change in perspective to get them untracked, kind of a reverse psychology akin to a basketball player lighting it up when he has the flu. Moving Morse to clean up tonight might just be what he needs, especially facing a lefty. Don't think, just swing. It says here he goes 3-5 tonight.

Sam said...

Ahh, so now we know why LaRoche is out: his shoulder is hurting. If this means a trip to the DL, I would assume they call up Bernadina and put Morse at 1B for a couple of weeks. Though, I think it would be really ballsy and more fun for the fans if Marrero got the call to play 1B. I would like to see if the kid is ready...

Of course, this is all contingent on LaRoche requiring a trip to the DL.

Mark Zuckerman said...

To answer Manassas Nats Fan's earlier question about radio broadcasts, the Nats get bumped off 106.7 FM when the Wizards play and when there's a weekday afternoon game that conflicts with the station's regular programming. Since the Wizards' season is just about over and there are only a handful of weekday afternoon games over the course of the season, this won't be an issue very often.

Alex said...

@manassas nats only one more regular season interruption for the wizards game after tonight that is Wednesday there is a wizards game monday but the nats are off so sunday and tuesday nats game wont be moved around it will be on 106.7

Rob Dibble's Ghost said...

Here's the deal...the Nats are generally on 106.7 (except weekday DAY games) nd 1500 with the following exceptions: When the Caps are playing at the same time, the Caps are on 1500 and the Nats are on 106.7. When the Wizards are playing at the same time, the Wizards are on 106.7 and the Nats are on 1500 and 1580. When all three teams play at the same time (which should be a rare occurence, but it has happened three times this week), the Nats are bumped to 1580 only. So it's a few games that are not on FM, but once the Wiz Kids pack it up, it will be much, much better deal for baseball fans than the past years on just 1500.

Feel Wood said...

"the Nats get bumped off 106.7 FM when there's a weekday afternoon game that conflicts with the station's regular programming."

Silly me. I always thought that when a radio station was the flagship station for a team that the team's games WERE its regular programming.

Nats Lifer said...

Yeah, Woody, another thing to iron out in seasons to come. It's a lot of Washington eggs to put in one 106.7 basket, having all three teams which play more than 20 games per year on the same station. One would think that as the Nats improve and the fan base expands that they'll get more priority. At least there should be a better FM back up with 50-100 mile radious coverage. We'll get there.

souldrummer said...

@Nats Lifer
CSN got the memo eventually once the Caps started getting higher ratings than the Wizards and would periodically boot the Wiz to CSN+.

jd said...

Does anyone know what's up with Bernadina? he hasnt been playing at Syracuse and he's not listed on their roster at all.

Natsochist said...

@jd, think he had a family matter he was attending to...check Nats Prospects for details.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

To me as flagship station the Nats should take priority over a talk show any day of the week. They think people would rather listen to r Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington? I don't get it.

jd said...

i have a feeling Broderick will get some work tonight.

Anonymous said...

Apparently umpires have forgotten that a strike is a strike. That pitch to Beltran before the homer was definitely strike 3 and the inning should have been over and done with. The last few years the umpires have been a joke.

dj in Fl. said...

Mets tv crew were talking about the small strike zone the ump was had for Gorzelanny. Two pitches later, after not getting that call strike three, the homer.
Good for Gorzelanny to give the ump grief about the call he did not get. At least let these umps we are no longer going to just take this
Way to go Desi

Jim Webster said...

Had to chuckle that Bobby and FP missed the chance to do a "Hu's on first?" routine. But maybe it's already overdone.

PDowdy83 said...

Jim, you spoke to soon, Carp just pulled out the Abbott and Costello reference...

dryw said...

Look what happens when you leave the bases tied.

RickH said...

Mark ... I like the red jerseys better than their regular road jerseys.

Natsochist said...

Mark, couldn't agree more about Porter's decision to hold Zim. That seems like a couple questionable decisions by Bo this year...and after I heard nothing but positives about him during the spring

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Can someone explain what, exactly, is Jerry Hairston doing on this club's roster?

FS said...

It is good to see Espinosa and Desi perform, especially Tom who is coming off a long layoff. But it is the Mets' free swinging lineup. I am a little cautious on praising Gorzo. Oh and the rate at which Nationals are striking out against Capuano is scary too.

Grandstander said...

Can someone explain to me why they didn't walk Davis to set up the DP against Hu? I was shocked to see them pitch to Ike.

Anonymous said...

Gorzelanny def deserved better than that tonight. He struck Beltran out before the 1st homer even though the ump missed it and the flyball that hairston just missed was awful...

Anonymous said...

Hairston was a great pickup by Rizzo. He can't play the outfield and he most certainly can't hit. What a waste!

Anonymous said...

Riggleman didn't walk Davis to face Hu because he is retarded.

sjm308 said...

How does a major league player miss that fly ball to left field?
This team just finds ways to get me upset and break my heart. I realize its a long season but this game is one we should be leading right now.

Joe Seamhead said...

Can we please just put our nine best guys out there? Riffle an manages like a Babe Ruth League coach trying to keep a bunch of parents happy.Jerry Hairston doesn't belong here. Porter is now scared of his own shadow. Mike Rizzo, you can't let this continue. There's too much talent on this team to watch them lose from poor management.

Anonymous said...

The dropped fly ball stunning. How does a professional outfielder miss that ball? Bringing in Broderick in a close game situation caused my jaw to drop open in amazement. These are the games that just wear me out.

Cwj said...

Agree with Joe Seamhead.
Riggleman wants to make everyone happy. That's not how one should manage a MLB team (I don't think).
Take a look at your roster and play the best 8 non-pitchers at their best positions. How hard is that?
I seriously think Riggs needs to go. With an improving team (and they are indeed improving) the Nats need a new manager.

Gorzelanny deserved better results tonight.
Broderick should be parted with.

Anonymous said...

Can we please just put our nine best guys out there?

THe baseball season is a marathon not a seven game series!!

dj in Fl. said...

Where are you guys coming from. We don't have our best available out there tonight. We should not give injured players a day off! Maybe we should cut Morse based on his start. Just think how the fans in Boston and Tampa must feel about their lousy managers.
How about if the 9 on the field just play to their ability. There is a reason that there are 25 members on a is a long season and all must step up when called on.

Anonymous said...

The Pitch Count God bit us again tonight. Those of you with Tivo or MLB TV, watch Werth's first AB. He watched two of the biggest marshmallows in the history of baseball. Then, forced to fight for contact down 1-2, he whiffed on a high pitch, out of the strike zone.

I keep wondering: is the objective to win the award for most pitches seen, or to get on base?

Grandstander said...

It plagued the Mets yesterday and it gets us today. 1-9 with RiSP is pathetic. I can't shake the feeling we just gave this one away. Chris Young looked sharp against the Phillies and shut us out back in 08. But we really need to take this series if we want to stay relevant.

Anonymous said...

Just watched Riggs on post game. This clearly is a man on the edge. He reminds me so much of Norv in his latter days here. This team has the pieces to be good.....not next We lose almost every close game we are in. We need a young, positive, aggressive manager. Riggs was hired as an interim manager. It is very clear he can't handle the pressure of his job. It just seems like every move he makes, whether it is the right one or not, backfires. He has a black cloud around him. It is time to take that next step................

Joe Seamhead said...

Anon 9:42, I find it hard to believe that Espinosa and Desmond both needed a breather the fourth game of the season. Dj in Fl, my point was not benching/ cutting Morse, rather Jim has a bad tendency/history of playing guys out of position. Jerry Hairston is a very mediocre outfielder.Broderick is on the team due to a good spring, but mainly because of rule 5. That said, he should,at least for now, be the last guy out of the pen in a tight game..With Adam LaRoche we seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place, with our pants down, due to the final roster choices made. If he's hurt and we have to move Morse to 1B, there is no legit 4th OF.Speaking of Morse, last night he drew a bases loaded walk and then Nix was sent in to pinch run for him.I didn't get that move. Was it related to Adam's shoulder? No, because Nix went to left. If the Mets had come back, we burned Nix as a PH, and at that point in the game it was unlikely for him to get an AB in Morse's spot.
Look, I still think that this team can be a near.500 team. I have bought into the "we're a better defensive, more athletic team" hook, line and sinker, but talk's cheap.I like Jim Riggleman, really want the local guy to succeed, but like a lot of us, I'm losing confidence that he's the guy to get us to be a winning team.I hope that I'm wrong.

Cwj said...

Obviously it is a long season and I believe this team will win close to 80 games.
BUT, why was Broderick even pitching in a close game?
I say: screw the whole "out of options" and "rule 5 draft" rules and actually use the best players on the team.
The ultimate goal is to win each game, right?

The Nats can't do that with 2-3 of their best pitchers in the minors. (Balester, Detwiler, HRod).
I'm really looking forward to the early season Spring Cleaning that is absolutely necessary.

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